What do you get when you cross The Matrix with The Hunger Games? You get Insurgent, that’s what: a kick-ass action movie set in a post-apocalyptic world on the brink of civil war.
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This is a spoiler-free review.
Insurgent is the sequel to last year’s Divergent film, and it’s the second movement in the trilogy of movies based on books authored by Veronica Roth.
The Divergent Series is set after a great conflict in a pseudo post-apocalyptic version of Chicago. Society has been divided into five factions. Abnegation is a value selflessness and run the government, Dauntless value bravery and also act as the army protecting the city, Erudite are the smartest faction and covet the government positions, Amity are farmers growing the food, Candor are honest to a fault and act as the law and those without a faction are called the Factionless.
There are those who fit into too many of the factions, however, and can’t be classified or controlled. Those people are called Divergents. We’re never really told why Divergents are a threat to the Faction system, but the head of the smart Erudite faction, Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet), seems hell-bent on killing them all and seizing control of the governing body. Our main character Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is a Divergent, and as a result she’s being hunted after diffusing a failed coup attempt led by Erudite and Dauntless in Divergent.
Honestly, that two-paragraph explanation took me ages: there’s a lot to learn for this universe to make sense.
Insurgent borrows elements from other science-fiction/action films you’ve seen and weaves them together to create a world that’s actually quite rich in its lore.
Of course, there’s only so many layers you can fit into a film before it becomes too dense for the audience to handle. Much like Divergent, Insurgent struggles with information overload at times. Let’s just say that if you don’t remember what all of the factions are known for, you’re going to have a tough time in the third act of this movie.
If you can keep a grasp on it, however, you’re probably going to enjoy yourself. The action kicks off almost immediately and doesn’t really stop until the end of the film. There’s a bit of clumsy talking you have to endure in-between chase and fight scenes, but the filmmakers know you’re processing a lot of information and try to underarm throw new information at the viewer rather than pitching it directly at you.
Visually speaking, it borrows elements of other movies and games you’ve seen and enjoyed in the past. It has elements of Oblivion, The Hunger Games and The Matrix chucked in, and there’s even some Half-Life 2 thrown in there for good measure.
The fact that the film is skewed towards a young adult audience might turn you off. It’s certainly jarring at times to watch kids in their early-20’s talk politics, struggle with their emotions and beat each other up, but if you can get through that element of the film, you’re in for a great action movie.
On a scale where Twilight and The Host are the worst YA movies out there, and where The Hunger Games are some of the best, I’d say this is closer to Katniss Everdeen’s end of the scale. It’s by no means perfect: the pacing is a little slow in places, there’s a lot to remember and many of the characters lack depth, but I found it really enjoyable.
Insurgent is in theatres now.
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